Yuyun was a 14-year-old schoolgirl from a poor rural village in Indonesia. She was a bright student, ranked 3rd in her class. Her family was proud of her accomplishments, and her future looked promising.
On April 2, as she was walking home school, she was attacked and raped by a group of men and boys, who then murdered her and dumped her body in a rubber plantation. It was two days before she was found.
Police arrested seven men and seven boys who were later convicted of her rape and her murder. Two of the boys were her classmates from school.
When the details of Yuyun’s brutal rape and murder became known, anger swept the nation, and the issue of rampant sexual violence against girls, normally a taboo subject in the conservative Muslim nation, came to the forefront. According to a recent article by the Jakarta Globe, “increased sexual violence cases involving women and children have forced the phenomenon into the headlines and become a priority for Indonesia’s lawmakers.”
In the rural villages of Indonesia, our local co-workers estimate that nearly 50% of children are being sexually abused. This staggering level of abuse is largely unseen and in the shadows; it happens behind closed doors. Families, fearful of bringing shame and dishonor to themselves, often protect male relatives who are sexual predators. This leaves girls vulnerable to sexual abuse in their own homes.
“This is precisely why we are in Indonesia, offering 10 Tips to Safety training and materials in public schools, on the radio, in print and in our Children’s Outreach and Transformation Groups,” says Michele Rickett, Founder and CEO of She Is Safe. “Just two weeks ago I was there when we visited an elementary school. We explained that each person’s body is a sacred gift from God, gave them a copy of the 10 Tips, and had the children pair up and share one tip with a friend as practice before they went home and shared the flyer with their parents.
When parents and children know about risks and recourse, and everyone has a hotline number they can call for help, children will be safer. We gave each boy and girl school supplies, and provided pantaloons to the little girls (none of them had underthings). It was thrilling to see that schools are wide open to the training and want follow up, as well.”
As nearly 50% of Indonesia’s rural children are experiencing sexual abuse, the need to expand the work is critical. With the Indonesian national dialogue opening up about sexual violence and written endorsement of this program by the local authorities, there is an extraordinary opportunity to bring abuse prevention training to the nation’s most vulnerable girls.
There are about 100,000 students in the three communities where we work, and we have a wide-open door to reach each boy and girl. The cost for training, school supplies and pantaloons for one child is only $10. Your support for Abuse Prevention and Recourse for children will capture this historic moment and show children their true value in God’s eyes. Please join us in preventing the abuse of girls, changing boys and shaping a brighter future.